Bullitt Mustang Hits The Streets

Written by Joe D on November 30th, 2007

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Yeah! Ford has built a 40th anniversary Limited Edition Bullitt Mustang based on the car from the Steve McQueen movie! It looks pretty cool, the closest thing to a 60’s muscle car combined with 21st Century technology to ever come out of Detroit. The chief engineer tells how he and his cohorts spent a long time listening to the sounds of the car in the movie and then tuning the exhaust of the new Bullitt Mustang to sound just like it! Now that’s my kind of R&D!
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This movie just keeps on gaining in popularity, I saw part of it recently on TV and it looks super cool, those 60’s colors, Steve McQueen, Mr. CobraHead, looking cool and tough but always under control. And maybe the greatest car chase in the history of Cinema, no wonder it keeps getting under people’s skin. I had the good fortune to work with Peter Yates, the director of Bullitt and Pablo Ferro, the title designer. Pablo told me that Steve saw Yates’s The Great Train Robbery and hired him for Bullitt based on that. Also Pablo did the titles and multi- screen montages for The Thomas Crown Affair, McQueen was impressed and insisted Pablo do the title sequence for Bullitt.It is SuperCool. Anyway, This movie has become such a cultural icon, the proof is in the pudding, Detroit is listening to the pulse of the car buying/movie loving public! Tell you what, want to make a good investment? Buy a 2008 Bullitt Mustang. Fill the engine with Marvel Mystery Oil, park it in a hermetically sealed garage for 30 years and then take it out and sell it! Better yet buy two, one to drive and one to preserve. Here’s a video of the car in action and a link to an interview with the chief engineer.

Click the link below to hear Mr. Engineer and watch the Bullitt Car Burn Rubber.
http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1287043167/bctid1294526637

Slavko Vorkapich, Bob Downey (A Prince)

Written by Joe D on November 28th, 2007

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Slavko Vorkapich

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Bob Downey
Whoever watched my FilmNut interview heard me babbling about the late great film theorist, montage maker and teacher Slavko Vorkapich. I first heard about Slavko from Bob Downey (Senior that is), a prince. Bob worked at an ad agency in the 60’s making “experimental” commercials. One had a woman in Chainatown turn to the camera and say ” With Preparation H I can kiss my hemorrhoids goodbye”. Anyway Slavko was working at the agency teaching his ideas on film, Bob was very impressed and always tried to utilize what he got from Slavko. So here without further ado is a famous montage Slavko did for a Hollywood movie many moons ago.

Thanks to Flickhead for turning me on to this clip!http://flickhead.blogspot.com/

Mystery Street, The Black Dahlia, Red Manley, The Lady In The Dunes

Written by Joe D on November 25th, 2007

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Another gem from The Film Noir Collection, Vol.4, Mystery Street by John Sturges, who also directed Bad Day At Black Rock and The Great Escape. Mystery Street intrigues me for several reasons. First and foremost it’s a good film. Excellent Cinematography by that master of Noir, John Alton. Also great Editing by Ferris Webster,my friend Pablo Ferro knew Ferris and really liked him. He edited a lot of great films. The Great Escape, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot etc., etc.

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Crackerjack performances by such greats as Ricardo Montalban and Elsa Lanchester. Killer Boston locations from 1950. A lot of forensic detail since this story involves a skeleton found in the dunes of Cape Cod and a pathologist at the Harvard Medical School helps solve the case. Actually there are a lot of lurid details in this movie. It’s almost like a 50’s tabloid newspaper come to life. Several details reminded me of the Black Dahlia case which took place 3 years before this film came out. A woman’s body is found, through some sleuthing they find the guy she was last seen driving away with. Sure he spent some time with her but he didn’t kill her. He’s recently married and doesn’t want his wife to find out. Just like Red Manley, the first suspect in the Dahlia case. Manley was let off the hook but it eventually destroyed his marriage and he committed suicide.

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Red Manley. Dahlia Suspect,Family Man, Suicide Victim Gets Frisked

The newspapermen hounded Manley and his wife and they do the same here with Henry and Grace Shanway. The girl,Vivian Heldon, was a rent-a-date type who was impregnated by a rich, upper crust clown. She tried to shake down the elitist snob James Joshua Harkley, who knocked her up, and she got killed by him instead. A similar scenario to the one proposed by Donald H. Wolfe in his book The Black Dahlia Files. He claimed Betty was snuffed by Bugsy Siegal because a rich Norman Chandler had gotten Betty pregnant and she wouldn’t have an abortion. So watching this movie is kind of like looking back in time at a similar murder investigation, much more interesting than watching Brian De Palma’s film.

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Vivian Heldon, Pregnant Murder Victim, I told you this Film Was Lurid

Ricardo Montalban is excellent and it’s really cool to see a Latino lead in a movie from that time. Especially since he’s not playing Zorro or a Mexican Spitfire or some other stereotype. Montalban is a detective, hard nosed, dedicated, an asshole at times as he digs for the truth. He’s even convinced the wrong guy did it, an accurate portrayal, cops think everybody’s guilty. I guess that comes from spending so much time with criminals. The fact that the woman was murdered on Cape Cod and her remains discovered in the dunes reminded me of another real life case. The Lady in The Dunes, a famous unsolved case from 1974. An unknown woman’s body was discovered, her head was smashed in and almost severed. They couldn’t ID her from fingerprints because her hands had been chopped off and were never found.

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Reconstructed Face of The Lady In The Dunes
The psycho that did this was never found. He or She could still be around today, it’s highly unlikely that whoever did the Dahlia is still kicking. I guess it’s possible but they’d have to be around 80 or 90. If you’d like more info on The Lady In The Dunes click the link below.
http://www.doenetwork.org/

R.I.P. Reg Park, Fernando Fernan Gomez

Written by Joe D on November 24th, 2007

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Two more luminaries have dimmed. Reg Park, muscle man, peplum star, bodybuilder, amigo & mentor to Arnold Schwartzennegar died Nov. 22.

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Fernando Fernan Gomez actor, director, writer shuffled off this mortal coil as well. Reg played Hercules, Ursus and Maciste, the big three Italian Peplum characters. My favorite of course is Ercole al centro della terra ( Hercules at the Center Of The Earth or Hercules in the Haunted World) by the sublime Mario Bava.
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The most atmospheric of all Hercules movies ( although Bava was the special effects cameraman on the popular Steve Reeves Hercules Unchained), the trip to Hades is very cool and the Oracle scenes are outstanding. Reg had to do battle with a Vampiric Christopher Lee and rescue his babe Princess Deianira, the luscious Leonora Ruffo.

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If you’re a fan of this genre and haven’t seen this one, do yourself a favor and check it out. Or if you’re an aspiring fantasy filmmaker with a small budget, sit at the feet of Maestro Bava and be amazed at what he did with almost nothing in the bygone pre-digital days.
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Spain and the rest of the world have lost a gigantic talent with the passing of Fernando Fernan Gomez.
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He’s probably best remembered by Americans as the worldly father in the excellent Belle Epoque. He plays the delectable Penolpe Cruz’s father and host to the deserter Jorge Sanz ( who looks just like Robert Downey, Jr.). A great movie!
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He also starred in an incredible film about childhood. El EspĂ­ritu de la colmena ( The Spirit Of The Beehive). Please see this film! It’s about a very young girl in a rural Spanish village and her reaction to seeing the film Frankenstein projected in the town square by an itinerant film shower. It’s an incredible film!
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Senor Gomez appeared in over 200 films! He directed 30 films! Plus he wrote and directed many plays! What a great career! I’m an ardent admirer of the picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes . Gomez wrote and directed a film version in 2001. I will have to track this down and post on it in the future.
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So Bon Voyage to a giant (physical) of the Silver Screen and a creative force that whirled around Spain and world Cinema for many years.
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Chiller Theater

Written by Joe D on November 20th, 2007

Since I’m reminiscing about Horror TV shows of my youth, here’s the opening toChiller Theater WPIX Channel 11.

Fright Night, WOR-TV

Written by Joe D on November 19th, 2007

Here’s the intro to a horror movie show I liked watching as a young East Coast movie nut. It’s from WOR-TV, home of the incredible Million Dollar Movie. WOR radio was the home of storyteller par excel-lance Jean Shepherd.

The Asphalt Jungle, John Huston, Jean Pierre Melville

Written by Joe D on November 18th, 2007

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I watched The Asphalt Jungle again after not seeing it for a long time. It’s an influential movie. Especially to Jean Pierre Melville. It might even be his favorite film.
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A Street Out Of Melville

The DVD was part of a film noir collection and include some interesting extras, first was an introduction by the man himself, John Huston. It must have been filmed right after the film was made, it’s in B+W and Huston looks like he’s in his late 40’s. He says the movie is all about the characters, summing up with something like ” you might not like them but I think you’ll find them fascinating”. Now that’s my kind of movie!
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The City=Hell
And the movie really is all about the characters, the way it’s filmed, the action, the details, it all serves to illuminate these beings, their strengths and their weaknesses or “Vice”. From the opening frames, the MGM logo with the roaring lion, the music creates a sense of foreboding, dread. The score is by Miklos Rozsa, it sets the mood and then there’s almost no score until the end. But it works very well. Melville did not use much music in his crime dramas, perhaps influenced by this. The first scenes are shot early on a foggy morning in what looks like Bunker Hill. “Crook Town” according to Raymond Chandler. A patrol car prowls the streets like a rouge shark hunting for the scent of blood. A figure ducks behind a pillar, it’s Dix, the magnificent Sterling Hayden in what I believe is his greatest role.
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He’s One Intimidating Fellow

He’s pulled in by the cops and put in a line up. But he intimidates the eyewitness, staring him down with murder in his eye, and the corrupt cop can’t out intimidate the guy so Dix walks. We are introduced to a group of criminals, an underworld association of safe crackers, wheelmen, hooligans, brains, bookies, and a high priced mouthpiece.
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Lon The Mouthpiece and Cobby The Bookie

Also a rough police commissioner, he tears up the corrupt Lt. Ditrich’s ass in an early meeting. I can’t help compare this angry top cop to the Inspector in Melville’s Le Circle Rouge. But the Inspector is more cynical, sure everyone is corrupt while the american is still believing in some, still naive in a way that feels distinctly american. Dix to me is the hero of this piece. He is the post war, traumatized American male. He dreams of the Kentucky horse farm he grew up on. How great it was, his only goal in life is to get enough money to buy it back and to do that he must struggle in the dirty city, the asphalt jungle.
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Doll loves Dix, The Only Guy Who Treated her Square

He tells Doll, his taxi dancing girlfriend, of his life back in Kentucky, of a particular Black Colt, the best horse they ever raised, and how everything went bad one year, the corn crop failed, the colt broke his leg and had to be shot, and his father died whereby they lost the farm. He is every American, naive, not understanding the horror that can overtake them at any moment. I’m referring to WWII and the devastating effect it had on our collective psyches. Dix just wants to get back home but as Doc Riedenschneider and Thomas Wolfe would tell him, you can’t go home again. Home to Dix is innocence, clean water, air, 30 acres of blue grass, heaven.
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Doc, The Big Brain

Anyway this is a caper movie , a brilliant plan by the “Doc” (Sam Jaffe). Interestingly played as a German complete with accent. A mastermind, he’s figured out this heist down to the smallest detail. Unfortunately when you add violence to the mix, things can go wrong and they do. Huston keeps the action simple and real. I love his fight scenes. My favorite is the bar fight in The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, when Bogie and Tim Holt take on Barton MacLane. You feel the struggle, the brutality just like a real fight, it ain’t pretty.
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Dix Slugs The Watchman, His Gun Hits The Floor and Goes Off. The Safecracker with a New Baby catches it in the Gut. Just Unlucky, I guess.

The Doc’s vice is chicks, young, beautiful babes. Huston sets this up with a revealing detail. Doc can’t help scope a girly calendar when left alone in the bookie joint.
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Doc’s Vice

James Whitmore plays Gus, the hunchback wheelman. He likes Dix, going out of his way to pay Dix’s gambling debt, to keep Dix from pulling another heist.
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Gus The Hunch Loves Cats

Louis Calhern is Uncle Lon, the crooked lawyer that lives beyond his means and Marilyn Monroe is Angela, Uncle Lon’s plaything. Man is she sexy, just the way she shifts around on a divan makes your temperature rise.
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Marilyn Sleeps On Uncle Lon’s Couch

The movie is shot beautifully. A lot of low angle two shots with one character in the foreground that show the ceiling of the room, creating a claustrophobic sense of everyone being trapped in little boxes, Dix’s room, the bookie joint, Gus’s luncheonette. Greg Toland and Orson Welles shocked the film world by showing ceilings in Citizen Kane. Sets were usually built without ceilings, a throwback to silent days when light came from glass roofed studios. Huston took that idea and ran with it. Maybe the ceiling represents the city, especially to Dix who grew up on a farm, outdoors with the sky for a roof. Harold Rossen did a great job, so atmospheric. It’s true Noir camerawork, with characters facing the camera as another speaks behind them. Rossen was nominated for an Oscar for Cinematography but lost out toThe Third Man! Gee, were movies better then?
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Classic Noir Composition

And as the film progresses and the only characters still on the loose are Dix and Doll, Huston moves into Close Ups.
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Huston moves in closer

Now that he’s got the audience invested in these people he shoves them in your face. It works like gangbusters.
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And Closer

Another thing, watch the heist carefully. Where another director would focus on the drill bits and tools, Huston keeps us on the faces, the heist is portrayed purely through character.
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The Heist Plays Out In Faces

There are a lot of little details about everybody that creates more 3 dimensional beings out of them. The fact that the safe cracker just had a baby, that Gus loves cats, that Lon has a sick wife. Backstory for everyone. The sets are great too, bare lightbulbs, pints of whiskey, dirty glasses. It gets under your skin. There’s a street at the begining that looks exactly like one in Melville’s Le Samourai. This nighttime world of people knocking on each other’s doors at 3AM, Melville’s milieu. Also, horses play a big part in Huston’s films. Reflections In A Golden Eye and The Misfits come to mind immediately. Towards the end of Le Doulous Belmondo stops off at a barn and checks out his horse before heading up to the main house where his killer is awaiting him. Is this an homage to Huston’s horse obsession? Quentin Tarantino has said that Melville did for the Crime Film what Leone did for the Western. I guess so, took elements from the Hollywood films they admired, stylized the heck out of them and revitalized a genre. This is one of Huston’s top two films, the other being The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. In the end Dix makes it back to his farm, he gets to lie in the green grass under the beautiful sky surrounded by the horses he loved.
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He Loved Horses More Than Anything

But he had to pay a high price, the price we all have to pay to get to Heaven.
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Heaven

The Courage Of Lassie

Written by Joe D on November 17th, 2007

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Okay, you all think I’ve lost it. Writing about a Lassie movie! Is he nuts! Just hold on a second, bear with me. I happened to catch the last hour of The Courage Of Lassie on TCM the other day, and it had quite an effect on me. First off any movie about an animal I find very moving, if you’ve ever had a pet or a relationship with an animal I’m sure you’ll agree. In this movie Lassie is called Bill. He’s separated from his mother and siblings as a puppy.
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The first 20 minutes of the movie are kind of like a Disney animal adventure, bears, mountain lion, eagle, fox, skunk, wolf, Lassie has a run in with all these creatures. He finally bumps into a pre-teen Elizabeth Taylor, she chases the puppy when Carl”Alfalfa” Switzer and his pal, out hunting, accidentally shoot him. This is a strange coincidence as years later (in real life) Alfalfa would be shot and killed in a dispute over a hunting dog.
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Alfalfa, Dead at 31.

Liz saves Bill and heals him up. He returns the favor and saves her one night when they’re out rounding up stray sheep in the snow on a mountain.
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Bill saves Liz from an avalanche

In the spring while rounding up more sheep Bill is hit by a truck and taken to a vet in town. There Bill is grabbed by an Army recruiter and taken to training camp. Next thing you know he’s shipping out, he’s on a transport ship, he sees action.
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The men of his platoon are pinned down on a mountain side under heavy fire. The radio man got blasted off the mountain, Bill is their only hope. He goes back to get reinforcements. He dodges mortar fire, machine gun bullets, runs through hell. He’s badly wounded but makes it back.
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Now he has to lead the troops back. He’s lying there near death but when his soldier buddy pleads with him to get up and show them the way, he does. He’s a hero but he’s shell shocked. They ship him back to the states and we see him in a cage on a transport train. He can’t sleep, every time he closes his eyes, he’s back there in the midst of all that death and destruction! Bill is having a flashback! Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome!
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Combat Flashback

The handlers take him out of the cage to shoot him up with drugs and he bolts, jumping off the moving train. He makes it back to his old neighborhood but now he’s bad. He lives under bridges, steals chickens, hunts. He’s a homeless Veteran!
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Homeless Psychologically Damaged Veteran

The local farmers get together and hunt him, they keep showing Close Ups of Bill snarling like mad. Young beautiful Elizabeth Taylor is outside reading, she hears something, hunters shooting, then a dog, it’s Bill. She runs after him and finds him hiding in a dark cave.
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He growls, she pleads with him to be quiet as the hunting party passes. Elizabeth approaches Bill, he growls, then charges! She tries to run but she trips and hits her head. She’s out cold. Bill approaches, will he kill her? No he snaps out of it and begins kissing her, licking her face! Lassie has a love scene with Elizabeth Taylor! This may be Liz’s first screen kiss! And it’s from a dog!
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OK, all seems well when the sheriff comes by. There’s a court order for Bill to be destroyed! They have a courtroom scene. All the local farmers testify that Bill should be put down.
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But Bill has a defender, none other than Frank Morgan! The Wizard Of Oz! He sees an ID tattoo in Bill’s ear and during recess calls the Army. When court reconvenes, The Wizard gives a beautiful speech, telling about Bill’s heroism, about his place in society, about how the community must help him re integrate, about his own son, who at this very moment is recovering from Post Traumatic Stress in a hospital in New York.
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The Wizard Of Oz Defends Lassie

Of course Bill is set free and reunited with the girl he loves. What a brilliant way for a movie studio to deal with the problems of returned veterans. They didn’t want to show the men acting strangely, back then they would have called them nuts or cowards. It’s always a huge problem and we’re facing it again today. I remember when I was a kid, returning vets from Vietnam, and all the problems they had. A large percentage of homeless people today are veterans. I’ve always liked films that deal with the problems of the returned Vet. I wrote about Act Of Violence and one of my favorites is Edward Dmytryk’s Till The End Of Time, a great movie about the problems of three returned G.I.s. Courage Of Lassie is an incredible artifact, the result of a giant image making machine (MGM) coping with a very real problem in a dreamlike Technicolor way.
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The Happy Ending

Lee Van Cleef, Charles Bronson, Roger Corman

Written by Joe D on November 14th, 2007

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Lee Van Cleef VS. a Cucumber with Claws

I just noticed something. A guy I just met via email sent me a book he wrote about Lee Van Cleef. The guy’s name is Mike Malloy. Anyway I’m reading this book and I see that Lee Van Cleef’s first starring role in a film was given him by Roger Corman.

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The Artful Roger

The film was called It Conquered The World and Van Cleef played a scientist who contacts a Venusian creature that wants to take over the Earth. And it almost does with Lee’s help, until he has to destroy it and save Mankind. I liked this movie when I was a kid.

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The Monster Menaces The Beautiful Beverly Garland, doesn’t she own a motel in Studio City?

The only bad thing is the rubber monster. Van Cleef is great as always. Another thing, Corman gave Charles Bronson his first leading role in Machine Gun Kelly.

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This is an excellent film and I whole heartedly recommend it to everybody. It features an outstanding performance by Maury Amsterdam of all people!

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This movie got Bronson noticed in Europe and he was on his way. Van Cleef and Bronson both became huge stars through working in Europe.
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Another thing Van Cleef and Bronson have in common. They both play the Harmonica!

They were both in their 40’s when they finally made it. Bronson had been in a lot of films, he was favored by Andre deToth and appears in several of his films. But even a giant talent like deToth didn’t or couldn’t give Charles a leading role.
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Van Cleef is in High Noon and is very effective. But who gave him his first leading role? Roger Corman. Was it because he was a true independent filmmaker, answering to himself?
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Was it Corman’s vision, ability to see talent for himself and the guts to take a chance? Probably a bit of both. These two stars were Galactic! International Box Office Giants. And they weren’t pretty faces, maybe to be a macho leading man you have to go to Europe and come back as one, like Clint Eastwood. Bronson’s nickname in Italy was Il Bruto (The Ugly), Van Cleef was mistakenly called “Mr. Ugly” in American ad campaigns after his appearence in The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly.(He played The Bad) Who are the macho leading men today? Russel Crowe? He’s from Australia, Mel Gibson? Ditto. Are there any home grown ones? I wonder why not.

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Leonard Mann, Ciak Mull

Written by Joe D on November 12th, 2007

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I just saw a great movie! A spaghetti western called Ciak Mull,( Chuck Moll). It stars Leonard Mann, I’ve seen him in some polizottos but never in a Western. He’s done a few of them like Vengeance is a dish Served Cold, which I haven’t seen yet. I was supposed to see it and Ciak Mull in Venice at the film festival but at the last minute the trip was cancelled. Anyway some friends of mine, recently returned from Italy, brought me a DVD of Ciak Mull.
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It’s in Italian with no subtitles but I understood almost all of it. I’ve been studying Italian for a while and I’m statring to get it. Also if there’s any kind of movie that’s pretty easy to understand, it’s a Western. OK, the movie starts with a band of bad guys setting a psychiatric prison on fire as a diversion so they can rob a bank. The inmates are going crazy, trying to break out of their cells so they aren’t burned to death. Woody Strode the black giant, veteran of many films both American and Italian, crashes through his cell door and starts freeing people.
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A Man Called Woody

Then we see someone, standing in a cell, not moving. It’s as if he doesn’t care about what’s happening. It’s Chuck Moll (Leonard Mann). What a great introduction to a character! He gets out with Woody and two others and as they’re escaping one of the robbers is shot down right in front of them. The dying bandit takes one look at Leonard, his eyes widen in disbelief, he exclaims ” Ciak Mull!”. He points his Colt at Leonard, meaning to kill him but he’s too far gone, he can’t pull the trigger. Leonard grabs him, ” What did you say? Who am I? ” He has amnesia!
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The Unholy Four

Well, the story turns positively Shakespearean after this with Chuck being tricked by enemies into gunning for his own father! It’s really cool.
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Chuck is tricked into trying to kill his father

This film was directed by Enzo Barboni using the name E.B. Clucher, right before he did the super successful Lo chiamavano TrinitĂ (They call Me Trinity) with Terence Hill.
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This card playing scene reminds me of They Call Me Trinity
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In Camera Card Tricks Foreshadow Terence Hill’s exploits in Trinity

This was the first of many Trinity films in a very popular franchise. But back to Ciak Mull, it’s got a few drawbacks, it looks low budget, the lighting isn’t great, and the score by Riz Ortolani, while very good is used in an odd way. They keep putting in the main title music even when it’s not appropriate. But the movie works really well in spite of it’s limitations.
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He’s Good With a Knife

Leonard and Woody Strode are great. Woody’s name in the film is Woody but since there is no “W” in Italian, they keep calling ” Oody, Oody!”. Also Chuck finally remembers the name of the bad guy he’s sworn to kill. Tom Udo! Tommy Udo is the name of the evil character played by Richard Widmark in Kiss Of Death, a role that made Widmark famous.
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Tom Udo! Tom Udo!

Leonard told me that Woody gave him an introduction to John Ford. Strode had appeared in several Ford films, Sergeant Rutlidge, Two Rode Together, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Woody’s last film was The Quick and The Dead which also featured Mark Boone Junior, star of One Night With You!
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She’s My Sister! She’s My Lover! My Sister! My Lover!

Anyway I really enjoyed Ciak Mull. It’s my favorite Leonard Mann performance so far! He reminds me of a young Henry Fonda. Ciak Mullis also known as Chuck Moll and The Unholy Four, I don’t think it’s available here yet but I’ll recommend it to everyone I can and who knows? Maybe it will become available.
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Of course Woody Gets Tortured!

Korla Pandit, Miserlou, R.J. Smith.

Written by Joe D on November 8th, 2007

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Here’s a clip of Korla Pandit playing Miserlou. This is from the 50’s way before Dick Dale and his Deltones recorded it or the Beach Boys. Dale’s version got a famous boost when it was used in Pulp Fiction. It’s an old Greek folk song that’s been around a long time. Korla Pandit is in Ed Wood, I’m not sure why, maybe he knew the real Ed Wood? But he was cool.

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In R.J. Smith’s excellent book The Great Black Way,( about the Central Avenue Jazz, R&B scene) he talks about Korla, his real name was John Roland Redd and he moved to L.A. in the late 30’s. To avoid racism and be able to tour and play music without being hassled he became Korla Pandit, Mystic Man of the East. The shit a brother had to do to get by!

Eyeball and the Lure of the Theater

Written by Joe D on November 7th, 2007

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Last year I was lucky enough to make it to a whole bunch of the GRINDHOUSE screenings at the New Beverly Theater on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. Quentin Tarantino had programmed a months worth of films from his personal collection, mainly 70’s Gridhouse fare and they were great! Such a treat to see cool films on 35mm in a theater with like minded film lovers! One of the films I saw was Umberto Lenzi’s Eyeball or Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro, it’s not a great film, but to see it with an audience! What a treat, they loved it! It’s full of shocks, and gags and eyeball gouging goop! It played so well in a theater surrounded by people that screamed, laughed, jumped and were grossed out, I loved it! Movies are meant to be experienced in a communal setting, the electric thrills running through the audience are a big part of the experience. This movie really illustrated that fact to me because as I said it’s not that great, if I had watched it on a DVD by myself I might have thought it crap! But with an audience a whole different enchilada! So I hope you can get the opportunity to see it the way it was meant to be seen. on a big screen surrounded by shrieking moviegoers. Also it has a great score by the genius Bruno Nicolai!
p.s. the trailer is NSFW, some nudity(boobs) and gore.